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18:00  SAST

[De]constructing Utopia

Structured grid, ISO Section, possible spaces. Wall of Irony. van Niekerk,T. Unit 13. 2021.
Utopias Four Tenets. Shube, N. Unit 19. 2021.

Ntombizethu Shube

MArch 2021

Unit Leader: Tuliza Sindi
Unit Tutor: Muhammad Dawjee
Unit Assistant: Lynette Breed

UNIT 19︎︎︎
The Act of Service: The Myth of Violence
Architecture is the practice of legitimising social structures of power, conceptualising the world through its symbols, images, and meanings. It is a means to consolidate ideologies of race, gender, and class, and is a way of communication, a kind of spatial text, which is usually more effective in conveying ideas than language.

The Major Design Project is centered on South African utopias, which are here identified as privatised territories of whiteness. These territories – maintained by black labour – exist as ideal societies for white South Africans to live in peace amongst themselves, where apartheid social hierarchies are re-enacted.

Utopia’s enmeshment with middle-class black South Africans is crucial in the obfuscation of apartheid's evolution and transmutation and the violent myth of a ‘post-apartheid’ South Africa. The research investigates past and present spatial productions of Cape Town’s inner city to reveal the continuity of architecture augmenting white hegemony and reproducing systems of exclusion, ordering, censoring and vigilance.

The project deconstructs the typologies of utopia through stage sets (dioramas), to construct a new architectural vocabulary from a speculative lens. The proposal takes the form of a rite of passage that is a transition between utopia and the abyssal plains that poor black South Africans become expelled to, and transitions us into new futures beyond colonialism and imperialism. This liminal space of altered forms and new relations occurs at the scales of 1:1 and 1:2000, and is an attempt at destabilising white hegemony.

Whiteness, Vigilance, Utopia, Territory, Hegemony, Otherness

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